A Facebook worker and registered Democrat resigned from the company after it’s leadership refused to censor the president of the United States. Naturally, CNN devoted more than 1,400 words to his protest.
“Timothy Aveni, a 22-year-old Facebook software engineer, quit after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg refused to take action on President Donald Trump's warning last week,” CNN Business reported on June 5. CNN described Aveni’s job as “part of a team that is responsible for showing fact-checks to Facebook users.”
Aveni had written a Facebook post announcing his resignation, and accused his soon-to-be former employer of being “complicit in the propagation of weaponized hatred”:
"Since Friday, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand and process the decision not to remove the racist, violent post Trump made Thursday night, but Facebook, complicit in the propagation of weaponized hatred, is on the wrong side of history. #blacklivesmatter"
Aveni lamented to CNN Thursday: "Zuck has told us over and over that calls to violence would not be tolerated on the platform, even if they were by the President of the United States."
Zuckerberg explained his rationale for leaving Trump’s threat to crack down on lawlessness in a Facebook post, "we decided to leave it up because the National Guard references meant we read it as a warning about state action, and we think people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force."
"I don't think that this was a decision made based on principle," Aveni suggested to CNN. "I think he made the decision and then tried to find some way to connect it to principle, because that was convenient for him. And that's not the way these things should go."
While Aveni has now walked away over Facebook’s refusal to censor Trump, he has taken issue with Facebook before. CNN reported that he previously was outraged over how the platform has actually begun listening to conservatives’ concerns about censorship:
“Aveni saw Facebook's intervention in the fact-check of the anti-abortion video as highly problematic, evidence, he says, of Zuckerberg bowing to pressure from conservatives and an abandonment of principle.
“An investigation by the International Fact-Checking Network found the fact-check to be ‘fair and accurate.’”
A Facebook spokesperson did not respond to Aveni’s issues with Facebook directly, but CNN observed that Facebook pointed to an earlier statement, which expressed some level of compassion:
"We recognize the pain many of our people are feeling right now, especially our Black community. We encourage employees to speak openly when they disagree with leadership. As we face additional difficult decisions around content ahead, we'll continue seeking their honest feedback."
"I think [Zuckerberg is] scared to take action when it really, really matters," Aveni lamented, before adding that “that concerns me because I don't know how many chances we have to do the right thing anymore. I think we're seeing the country go down a really, really dangerous path."
Some viewers might consider the idea of a social media platform powerful enough to censor the president’s messages to be one of the most dangerous political paths of all.